Vocationalisation of Secondary and Tertiary Education: Challenges and Possible Future Directions

  • Margarita Pavlova
  • Rupert Maclean
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 19)


This chapter analyses social and economic debates and the ways economic competitiveness is viewed in relation to human resource development including some implications for vocationalisation. It argues that change from an education-driven to a functional-driven model of skills development within secondary schooling is observed in the Asia-Pacific region. It has been argued that such trends as expansion of the basis for vocationalisation, merging of TVET and general education, quality and delivery of vocationalisation and moves from specific job-skills training to flexible training are typical for the region and need to be taken into account when developing policies and implementation practices for vocationalisation. The degree to which vocationalisation occurs and its nature depends on the level of economic development and on cultural traditions. Social, economic and technology rationales are used by governments to decide on particular vocationalisation policy. The vocationalisation of postsecondary and higher education is analysed through the different levels of debate, and the issue of whether tertiary education is becoming too focused on preparing individual for employment is also discussed.


Human Capital Vocational Education Human Resource Development World Economic Forum Employability Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adams, A. V. (2007). The role of youth skills development in the transition to work: A global review. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  2. ADB. (2007a). Report and recommendation of the President to the Board of Directors on a proposed loan to Indonesia for the senior secondary education project. Metro Manila: Asian Development Bank. (Draft)Google Scholar
  3. ADB. (2007b). Project completion report on the technical education project in Malaysia. Metro Manila: Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  4. ADB. (2009a). Good practice in technical and vocational education and training. Metro Manila: Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  5. ADB. (2009b). Education and skills: Strategies for accelerated development in Asia and the Pacific. Metro Manila: Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  6. Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Research Network on Core Competencies. (2008). Core competencies.
  7. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia. (2002). Employability skills for the future. Canberra: DEST.Google Scholar
  8. Australian Industry Group and Deloitte. (2009). National CEO survey – Skilling businesses in tough times. Sydney: Australian Industry Group.Google Scholar
  9. Barro, R. J. (2000). Education and economic growth.
  10. Bishop, J. H., & Ferran, M. (2005). Economic return to vocational courses in U.S. high schools. In J. Lauglo & R. Maclean (Eds.), Vocationalisation of secondary education revisited (pp. 329–362). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bowskill, N. (2012). Five case studies exploring the value of technology education in New Zealand secondary school. Unpublished MEd thesis, The University of Waikato, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  12. Copenhagen Development Consult A/S. (2005). Technical and Vocational education and training (TVET) in [the People’s Republic of] China An overview. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  13. Dalitz, R., Toner, P., & Turpin, T. (2011). VET and the diffusion and implementation of innovation in the mining, solar energy and computer games sector. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  14. Dalley-Trim, L., Alloway, N., & Walker, K. (2008). Secondary school students’ perceptions of, and the factors influencing their decision-making in relation to, VET schools. The Australian Educational Researcher, 35(2), 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dewar, J. (2005, June). E-mail to academic staff. Griffith University, Brisbane.Google Scholar
  16. European Commission. (1995). White Paper: Teaching and learning. Towards a learning society (Brussels, ed. E.C./Directorate General Education, Training and Young).Google Scholar
  17. Goodman, R., Hatakenaka, S., & Kim, T. (2009). The changing status of vocational higher education in contemporary Japan and the Republic of Korea. UNESCO-UNEVOC Discussion Paper.Google Scholar
  18. Government of India. (2009). National policy on skill development, Ministry of Labour and Employment. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
  19. Government of India. (2010). The challenges facing skill development in India: An issues paper. New Delhi: Institute of Applied Manpower Research Planning Commission.Google Scholar
  20. Griffith University. (2002). The Griffith project. Brisbane: Griffith University.Google Scholar
  21. Harris, R., Rainey, L., & Sumner, R. (2006). Crazy paving or stepping stones? Learning pathways within and between vocational education and training and higher education. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  22. Hoelscher. (2005, September 8–10). Vocational programmes in German Higher Education and their role for the Economy. Some thoughts in European comparative perspective. Paper presented at the international seminar vocational content in mass higher education? Responses to the challenges of the Labour Market and the Work-Place, Bonn.Google Scholar
  23. ISC. (2011). No more excuses: An industry response to the language, literacy and numeracy challenge.
  24. Jiang, Y. (2008). Scanning the requirement of employers on the quality of TVET graduates. Journal of ZJTIE, 4, 45.Google Scholar
  25. Karmel, T. (2007). Vocational education and training in Australian schools. The Australian Educational Researcher, 34(3), 101–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kasih, T. (2010). Vocational education intervention for low academic achievers at lower secondary level. Retrieved July 25, 2011, from Scholar
  27. Kelly, D. J. (2001). Dual perceptions of HRD: Issues for policy: SME’s, other constituencies, and the contested definitions of human resource development. Paper presented to ninth annual meeting of PECC-HRD Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Human Resource Development Task Force PECC. Hualien, Retrieved June 15, 2011, from Scholar
  28. Kelly, S., & Price, H. (2009). Vocational education: A clean slate for disengaged students? Social Science Research, 38, 810–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kim, Y. J., & Terada-Hagiwara, A. (2010). A survey on the relationship between education and growth with implications for developing Asia (ADB Economics Working paper Series No. 236), Manila, Philippine: ADB.Google Scholar
  30. Klüver, J. (1995). Hochschule und Wissenschaftssystem. In L. Huber (Ed.), Ausbildung und Sozialisation in der Hochschule. Bd. 10, Enzyklopädie Erziehungswissenschaft. Herausgegeben von Dieter Lenzen (pp 78–91). Stuttgart: Klett-Verlag.Google Scholar
  31. Korean Council for College Education. (2005, January). College and professional education Newsletter. Accessed from
  32. Krueger, A. B., & Lindahl, M. (2001). Education for growth: Why and for whom? Journal of Economic Literature, 39(4), 1101–1136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lauglo, J. (2005). Vocationalisation of secondary education revisited. In J. Lauglo & R. Maclean (Eds.), Vocationalisation of secondary education revisited (pp. 3–49). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lauglo, J., & Maclean, R. (2005). Vocationalisation of secondary education revisited. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  35. Lehmann, W. (2005). Choosing to labor: Structure and agency in school-work transitions. The Canadian Journal of Sociology, 30(3), 325–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mankiw, N. G., Romer, D., & Weil, D. N. (1992). A contribution to the empirics of economic growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107, 407–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Minghat, D., Yasin, R. M., Mustapha, R., & Pavlova, M. (2010). Elements of sustainable development in technical and vocational subjects in secondary school in Malaysia. In H. Middleton (Ed.), Knowledge in technology education (Vol. 2, pp. 62–72). Brisbane: Griffith Institute for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  38. Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.Google Scholar
  39. Nikolaou, C., & Papadakis, N. (2003, September 23–26). European Higher Education in the era of change: Context, values, politics and the stake of the new partnership between University and “Society at Large”. In Proceeding of the 6th ESA Conference, University of Murcia, Spain. Research networks #21, Social Theory, (pp. 1–9).Google Scholar
  40. OECD. (2001). The well-being of nations: The role of human and social capital. Paris: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. OECD. (2002). Glossary, education at a glance. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  42. OECD. (2010). Education at a glance: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD.
  43. Pavlova, M. (2005). Life skills for employability, citizenship and sustainable development: A case study of the vocationalisation of secondary schooling in [the Russian Federation]. Prospects, XXXV(3), 343–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pavlova, M., & Huang, C. L. (2012). Advancing Employability and Green Skills Development: Values Education in TVET in [the People’s Republic of] China. In R. Maclean, S. Jagannathan, & J. Sarvi (Eds.), Skills development for inclusive and sustainable growth in developing Asia-Pacific. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  45. Polesel, J. (2008). Democratising the curriculum or training the children of the poor: School-based vocational training in Australia. Journal of Educational policy, 23(6), 615–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Psacharopolos, G., & Loxley, W. (1985). Diversified secondary education and development evidence from Colombia and Tanzania. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Rauner, F. (2005, September 8–10). Vocationalism in Higher Education: A reflection on the stigmatisation of technical vocational and educational training. Paper presented at the international seminar vocational content in mass higher education? Responses to the challenges of the Labour Market and the Work-Place, Bonn.Google Scholar
  48. Sabadie, J. A., & Johansen, J. (2010). How do national economic competitiveness indices view human capital? European Journal of Education, 45(2), part I, 236–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sala-I-Martin, X., Blanke, J., Drzeniek Hanouz, M., Geiger, T., & Mia, I. (2009). The global competitiveness index 2009–2010: Contributing to long-term prosperity amid the global economic crisis. In K. Schwab (Ed.), The global competitiveness report (pp. 2009–2010). Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
  50. Schulte. (2005, September 8–10). Changes of the employment market and the implications for vocational training in universities. Paper presented at the International seminar vocational content in mass higher education? Responses to the challenges of the Labour Market and the Work-Place, Bonn.Google Scholar
  51. Snell, D., & Hart, H. (2007). Vocational training in Australia: Is there a link between attrition and quality? Emerald Education + Training, 49(6), 500–512.Google Scholar
  52. Staron, M., Jasinski, M., & Weatherley, R. (2006). Life based learning: A strength based approach for capability development in vocational and technical education. A report on the research project “Designing professional Development for the Knowledge Era”. Darlinghurst, NSW: TAFE NSW.Google Scholar
  53. Stevenson, J. (2005). The centrality of vocational learning. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 57(3), 335–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Taylor, A. (2008). ‘You have to have that in your nature’: Understanding the trajectories of youth apprentices. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(4), 393–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Turner, D. (2002). Employability skills development in the United Kingdom. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  56. UIS-UNEVOC. (2006). Participation in formal technical and vocational education and training programmes worldwide: An initial statistical study. Bonn: UNESCO-UNEVOC.Google Scholar
  57. UNESCO. (2005, April–June). Education Today Newsletter, UNESCO.Google Scholar
  58. UNESCO. (2011). Background paper for the world TVET report vocationalisation of secondary and higher education: Pathways to the world of work. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  59. UNESCO Institute for Statistics database. (2010). Table 20 A: Regional sum of enrolment by ISCED level. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from Scholar
  60. Winch, C., & Clarke, L. (2003). ‘Front-loaded’ vocational education versus lifelong learning. A critique of current UK government policy. Oxford review of Education, 29(2), 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. World Bank. (2006a). Skill development in India: The vocational education and training system. Human Development Unit, South Asia Region. Washington, DC: World Bank (Draft).Google Scholar
  62. World Bank. (2006b). Pakistan, an assessment of the medium-term development framework. Higher Education Policy Note. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  63. World Bank. (2007). Learning for working opportunities: An assessment of the vocational education and training in Bangladesh. Human Development Unit, South Asia Region. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  64. Young, M. (2010). Why educators must differentiate knowledge from experience. Journal of the Pacific Circle Consortium for Education, 22(1), 9–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Asian Development Bank. The book is published with open access at 2013

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License which permits any non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education and Professional Studies and Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Faculty of EducationGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of International Education and Lifelong LearningThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationHong KongChina

Personalised recommendations